Today’s Scrip-Bit   9 April 2023 Revelation 1:17.

Revelation 1:17.Fear not: I am the first and the last.

It’s Sunday friends, Easter Sunday, and Christ has risen from the grave! Yes, He has! The tomb is empty, and He’s been seen walking in the garden. Glory Hallelujah! That makes this day, possibly the most marvellous, momentous and meaningful day in the history of mankind! Why? Because it means that since Christ has risen from the dead, and is now alive forever more, whosever believes in Him will also rise from the dead and have eternal life! Glory be, my fellow believers! 

As Bruh Paul wrote to the church at Rome: ‘Now if we be dead (died) with Christ, we believe that we shall also live with him. Knowing that Christ being raised from the dead dieth no more; death hath no more dominion over him.’ (Rom. 6:8-9) We know that Jesus wasn’t the first person who was raised from the dead, but He was the first one who was raised, never to die again! That’s because with His resurrection He conquered Satan, fought him mano a mano, took away the keys of death from Him, left him powerless. 

He says it quite clearly to John in Revelation as John lies like dead at His feet. ‘…Fear not: I am the first and the last. I am he that liveth, and was dead; and, behold, I am alive for evermore, Amen; and have the keys of hell (hades) and of death.’ (Rev. 1:17-18) That means our faith in Christ is absolutely worthwhile, we have been liberated from sin by His resurrection. But enough talk, let’s get to some worship, as we sing this old but wonderful hymn, written by the master hymnist Charles Wesley, and most appropriately titled, ‘Christ the Lord Is Risen Today, Alleluia!’ 

And we have an interesting introduction from the Simple Series musical ‘Mercy Tree’ which was based on the album inspired by the message and mission of Billy Graham, titled ‘My Hope.’ So, let’s declare it (awright!!!) together. ‘We have gathered today to lift up the name of Jesus. We rejoice in His victory over sin and the cross. Our cries of ‘Hosanna! Save us now!’ have been answered. Our Redeemer has conquered death! And because we are certain of that, we have reason to celebrate.’ 

Now, it’s time to get on with that celebration. Therefore, in an upbeat tempo, in loud and sincere voice, with the rampant joy in our hearts flowing out through our words and actions, let’s offer up our sweet sacrificial praises to heaven. Singing: ‘ Christ the Lord is risen today, Alleluia! Earth and heaven in chorus say, Alleluia! Raise your joys and triumphs high, Alleluia! Sing, ye heavens, and earth reply, Alleluia! Love’s redeeming work is done, Alleluia! Fought the fight, the battle won, Alleluia! Death in vain forbids him rise, Alleluia! Christ has opened paradise, Alleluia! 

Lives again our glorious King, Alleluia! Where, O death, is now thy sting? Alleluia! Once he died our souls to save, Alleluia! Where’s thy victory, boasting grave? Alleluia! Soar we now where Christ has led, Alleluia! Following our exalted Head, Alleluia! Made like him, like him we rise, Alleluia! Ours the cross, the grave, the skies, Alleluia! Hail the Lord of earth and heaven, Alleluia! Praise to thee by both be given, Alleluia! Thee we greet triumphant now, Alleluia! Hail the Resurrection, thou, Alleluia! King of glory, soul of bliss, Alleluia! Everlasting life is this, Alleluia! Thee to know, thy power to prove, Alleluia! Thus to sing, and thus to LOVE, Alleluia!’ 

Ah friends, That’s such a beautiful collection of scriptural statements, based on a number of different places in the Bible, for instance, Matthew 28:6, Acts 2:32, 1 Peter 3:18 and Revelation 1:17-18, as well as the varying versions of Christ’s resurrection as outlined by Matthew, Mark, Luke and John. However, as the scholars tell us: ‘All four gospels essentially agree in reporting the facts of the Resurrection. The variety of details in each account supplement rather than contradict one another.’ 

We see in Matthew 28, where there was a great earthquake early on the morning of the resurrection, and when the Mary’s came to check out the situation, to finish embalming Christ, they found the giant stone that had guarded the tomb’s entrance rolled back by an angel of the Lord and he sat on it. ‘His countenance was like lightning, and his raiment (clothing) white as snow. And for fear of him the keepers (guards) did shake, and became as dead men. 

And the angel answered and said unto the women, Fear not ye: for I know that ye seek Jesus, which was crucified. He is not here: for he is risen, as he said. Come see the place where he lay. And go quickly, and tell his disciples that he is risen from the dead: and, behold he goeth before you into Galilee; there ye shall see him: lo, I have told you. And they departed quickly from the sepulchre with fear and great joy; and did run to bring his disciples word.’ (Matt. 28:3-8) 

Now isn’t that a rather interesting comment, the women were filled with fear and great joy? I guess such an important occasion studded with such immense surprise is able to produce those two emotions simultaneously. And I’m truly sorry my fellow saints that we have neither time nor space to get into the details of the other gospels, like specific accounts of Peter and John running to the tomb after hearing the news, Peter going in and finding it empty. Then Mary Magdalene meeting Jesus in the garden and taking Him for a groundskeeper, as well as the two disciples walking with Jesus along the road to Emmaus and not recognizing Him. And Jesus appearing to the disciples on the beach and in the Upper Room a few days later. 

You’ll just have to read all the gospels to get the full gist of what happened, and how important Christ’s Resurrection was back then, and still is today. It’s the very foundation of our faith, for without it our faith is futile, without any sound basis. Bruh Paul says it quite clearly in his first epistle to the church at Corinth, when some questioned the resurrection. ‘But if there be no resurrection of the dead, then is Christ not risen: And if Christ be not risen, then is our preaching vain (futile), and your faith is also vain (futile).’ (1 Cor. 15:13-14) 

It’s as simple as that my people. If Christ didn’t rise from the dead, then our faith is false, futile and worthless. But the important thing is that we know Christ truly rose from the dead because He was seen by many people after His resurrection, even showing the disciples, in particular, Thomas the nail prints in His hands. So please let’s discount any information to the contrary and rejoice greatly, because our Lord Jesus Christ is indeed risen today on Easter Sunday! Alleluia! Much LOVE!

…there’s nothing else worth believing…but Christ’s Resurrection…  

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